The chemistry of self-splicing RNA and RNA enzymes

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Science  19 Jun 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4808, pp. 1532-1539
DOI: 10.1126/science.2438771


Proteins are not the only catalysts of cellular reactions; there is a growing list of RNA molecules that catalyze RNA cleavage and joining reactions. The chemical mechanisms of RNA-catalyzed reactions are discussed with emphasis on the self-splicing ribosomal RNA precursor of Tetrahymena and the enzymatic activities of its intervening sequence RNA. Wherever appropriate, catalysis by RNA is compared to catalysis by protein enzymes.